Nature of the Work
Owners of pets and other animals today expect superior veterinary care. To provide this service, veterinarians use the skills of veterinary technicians. These professionals perform many of the same duties for a veterinarian that a nurse would for a physician.
Veterinary technicians typically conduct clinical work in a private practice under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. For example, they may perform laboratory tests such as urinalysis and blood counts, assist with dental care, prepare tissue samples, take blood samples, and assist veterinarians in a variety of other diagnostic tests. Some veterinary technicians record patients' case histories, expose and develop radiographs, and provide specialized nursing care. In addition, experienced veterinary technicians may discuss a pet's condition with its owners and train new clinic personnel. Veterinary technicians usually care for small pets such as cats and dogs, but can perform a variety of duties with mice, rats, sheep, pigs, cattle, monkeys, birds, fish, and frogs.
Besides working in private clinics and animal hospitals, some veterinary technicians work in research facilities under the guidance of veterinarians or physicians. In this role, they may administer medications, prepare samples for laboratory examinations, or record information on an animal's genealogy, diet, weight, medications, food intake, and clinical signs of pain and distress. Some may sterilize laboratory and surgical equipment and provide routine postoperative care. Occasionally, veterinary technicians may have to euthanize seriously ill, severely injured, or unwanted animals.